BY CHRIS MCNULTY
DONEGAL have won the battle to stage their Ulster Championship clash with Tyrone in Ballybofey.
The All-Ireland champions will host the game on home soil after a meeting of the Ulster Council tonight voted for MacCumhaill Park to be the venue for the May 26th game.
After having its capacity slashed by the Slattery Report and after the Tyrone manager Mickey Harte had put strong pressure on the Ulster Council in the media it has been feared that the game would be moved to Clones.
The capacity was reduced to around 12,000, but has been brought back to around the 18,000 mark again.
Having been drawn on the home side of the draw for the eighth year in a row, Donegal officials and the team manager, Jim McGuinness, were insistent that the Finnside venue should host this blockbuster tie.
“We are delighted with the work,” the Donegal assistant manager, Rory Gallagher, told the Donegal News.
“Especially for our supporters it is brilliant that they have a home game. They spent n awful lot of money following us last year and now they will see us play at home.
“It’s an expensive business so at least our supporters will not be put out now.
“We’d have played the game in Clones and we’ve had good joy there but, of course, it’s great to have the game in Ballybofey now.”
There were four elements to the upgrade works: the installation of extra turnstiles; remedial works to the crush barries which is the biggest part of the development; erection of additional fencing; and putting in an automatic counter system on the turnstiles.
The work, costing around €120,000 and funded by both the Donegal Co Board and Croke Park has been completed in less than five weeks and the ground is now up to scratch for this game of games.
The fixture, it has been confirmed, will be an all-ticket game with ticketing arrangements set to be released soon by the Ulster Council, with demand certain to outstrip supply by some distance.